Danish businesses fear the worst as Johnson takes power in UK

Danish businesses fear the worst as Johnson takes power in UK
File photo: Henning Bagger / BAG / Ritzau Scanpix
Interest organizations representing Danish businesses have warned of the increased risk of a no-deal Brexit following Tuesday’s confirmation that Boris Johnson will be the new British prime minister.

Johnson will take over from Theresa May on Wednesday after winning 66 percent of the votes of around 160,000 Conservative Party members in the party’s leadership contest, thereby becoming the UK’s new leader.

He faces the task of seeing through the country’s exit from the European Union and has promised a “do or die” approach to leaving on the current scheduled date of October 31st.

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Two Danish business confederations, the Danish Chamber of Commerce (Dansk Erhverv, DE) and the Confederation of Danish Industry (Dansk Industri, DI) have both said the risk of a ‘no-deal’ scenario and its potential consequences for Danish companies will increase with Johnson in power.

“I must say that the selection of Boris Johnson makes it quite likely that this will all end with a hard [no-deal, ed.] Brexit. That will be expensive for the United Kingdom and the British and will most certainly also hit the profit margins of many Danish companies,” DE CEO Brian Mikkelsen said via a written comment.

“But we can, of course, hope that Boris Johnson will be a little more pragmatic when he, as the new leader, is faced by the realities (of Brexit),” Mikkelsen added.

The UK is one of Denmark’s largest export markets, meaning the impact of increased levies and paperwork on goods and services exported across the North Sea could be felt on both sales and jobs in Denmark.

That is likely to happen should the UK leave the EU without securing a trade agreement with the EU, as would be the case in a no-deal Brexit.

“We hope the UK will not leave the EU on October 31st without a deal. A so-called no-deal Brexit would be a Halloween nightmare which, unfortunately, could come true,” DI’s deputy director Peter Thagesen said in a written comment.

“The Confederation of Danish Industry is advising its members to prepare for the worst,” Thagesen added.

According to DI figures, Danish companies received 86 billion kroner for exports to the UK last year. The organization estimates that 65,000 Danish jobs are connected to UK exports.

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  1. A ‘no-deal’ Brexit does not mean one without a trade agreement. It means without a transitional period agreed upon from both sides while a trade agreement is being negiotated. At this stage, the House of Commons has rejected the transitional phase (including the fact that Northern Ireland and therefore the whole UK stays in the customs union for as long as the negotiations continue) by not accepting Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement.

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